Last night it really hit me that I would never see my aunt again, and was in floods of tears. She was such a huge part of my life growing up - for various reasons I had a bit of a rough time at home and spent lots of time with my aunt, who was just 12 years older than me and thus, as I said, more like a big sister. I babysat quite often, looking after my 2 younger cousins, whilst aunt and uncle went out on a Saturday night...they always brought me back a takeaway and we would sit watching the Hammer Horror films that were on TV Saturday nights when they came home, whilst the kids were in bed. Sylvia gave me a key and kept a pillow and blanket in a downstairs cupboard for me, so I could let myself in at any time and kip on the sofa - I did that quite often. I also lived there for several weeks at a time when things were particularly bad for me.
Sylvia in some respects could be quite difficult to get on with - she didn't suffer fools gladly and her quick temper was legendary, although she calmed down and laughed it off just as quickly as it came. I'm the same. She would speak her mind, saying exactly what she thought - as do I. She was kindness personified though and would do anything to help anyone out, I like to think I do the same. She would defend her loved ones to the hilt if anybody had the nerve to criticise them - so do I. She laughed, she shouted and cried in equal measure....me too. She had a wicked sense of humour, would laugh at the silliest things till she had tears running down her face, and could swear like an Irish navvy. Yes I do too! And I know some people find me difficult to cope with.
I loved her to bits, understood her perfectly and got on with her better than most people - and her children, my 2 cousins, would be the first to agree.
Her last couple of years haven't been easy - she had MS (Multiple Sclerosis) for years, as has my sister - Sylvia's was progressive, unlike my sister's. A year ago she went blind - she'd already lost most of her hearing - and became wheelchair bound, and from then on her life as she knew it virtually stopped. And I know she hated it with a passion. She wouldn't have wanted to linger on for ages - the kidney failure and double pneumonia put paid to that anyway. I'm glad she's not suffering anymore, but OMG I miss her so much.
I didn't get much sleep and was in tears again this morning, so pulled up my big girls pants and told husband we were going out with Betty to the beach. Made some ham sandwiches, got some treats ready for Betty and bottles of water for us and off we went to my favourite place, Dunster beach. Busy there, clearly lots of people had the same idea - it's much nicer during the week. We'd have stayed longer but it's too warm now, not even a sea breeze to speak of....Betty doesn't do well in the heat so better to bring her home. She's flaked out now on her cool mat under the desk. I'm going to get the dinner in the oven, then go for a lie down to read a book, husband will no doubt carry on dozing in front of the TV.